by robcub32 12/19/11
"The stadium?" Parker asked. "What would he be doing at the school?"
Carlton ignored the question from Parker, and focused his attention on Colton. "He also attacked a group of kids in the woods by the old water tower. TJ Carlisle was hurt pretty bad." Carlton glanced at Parker, before looking back at Colton. "Curtis Lakewood tried to fight him off... The damage was very extensive. He nearly didn't make it."
Parker covered his mouth as he gasped in horror. "What? No!"
Parker thought of Shell and his heart broke for her. What if it had been Colton? He didn't want to appear like a wimp in front of Colton's dad, but he couldn't help it. Tears welled in his eyes and he burrowed closer to Colton's side.
Colton put his arms around him and held him tight. He kissed Parker's head and whispered soothingly, "Shh... It's okay, pup. Breathe..."
Carlton cleared his throat. "Has there been any activity here?"
"You know about the second attack on Parker. He also attacked the pup who's mated to the bear in the village, but Buck managed to scare him off." Colton paused for a moment, then added, "And Jed and Trey chased him away from the camp last weekend."
Parker's head lifted and his jaw dropped. "What? Why didn't you tell me?"
"I didn't want to worry you."
"You didn't— But what if something happened to you or Jed or Trey—"
Parker was about to have a full-blown meltdown.
Colton's growl was barely audible, but it was enough to stop Parker. Colton's eyes glanced towards his father for a split second. Parker backed down. He didn't want to show Colton disrespect in front of a rival pack member, even if he was family.
Carlton stood up. "I'd better be going."
Colton rose from the couch and shook his hand.
His father picked up his hat from the hook on the door and put it on and buttoned up his coat. "I was telling Parker that you've made a nice home here."
"Thanks, Dad." After an awkward pause, he added, "I'll be in touch."
"Goodbye, Mr. Butler," Parker said.
"Bye, Parker. Colton." With a dip of his chin, Colton's father left the cabin.
* * *
Parker paced back and forth in his parents' backyard. A sound coming from the house next door broke his daze. He hurried over to the fence and, hidden behind a row of pine trees, watched Shell close the back door behind her and look around.
Shell turned towards the noise and rolled her eyes at Parker. "For real with the 'psst'? You would make the worst spy, double-O-gay. Meet me in back by the big tree."
Parker made his way to the back gate. As he swung the iron gate open, he smelled the distinct odor of Colton's piss. It smelled recent. He rolled his eyes, shut the gate behind him, and hurried into the woods.
"Hey," Parker whispered. "How is he?"
Shell sat down on the grass cross-legged. Parker mimicked her, sitting facing her.
"He's doing a lot better," she said with relief. "He's sore and exhausted, but he's finally getting up and moving around."
"I'm so glad," Parker said with a relieved sigh. He grabbed Shell's hand and squeezed it. "I was so worried for you when Colton's dad told us what happened."
"I just don't get why they were attacked."
"I don't know either. Colton thinks it's a territory thing."
Shell narrowed her eyes. The growl building in her chest surprised Parker. "I could kill Seth Forrest. You know what he did? When the wolf attacked, he stepped back while Curtis and TJ fought for him."
"Seth is an asshole and a coward. But he'll probably be the next leader of the Forest View Pack..."
"Oh god. Don't get me started on that pack stuff."
"I know right. Curtis sounds loyal."
"He is," Shell said as she beamed with pride.
"You should be proud of him. It's a shame that someone like Seth just abuses it."
Parker smiled inwardly. He couldn't say anything to Shell about leaving her pack, but that didn't mean he couldn't manipulate the situation a little bit with some hints. "So you two are back together then?"
"Well... we're still working things out," she said as she subconsciously rubbed the bite mark over her neck.
"Are you nervous about meeting the Alpha?"
"I met him at the clinic. Did you know there's a medical clinic for werewolves? Yeah, that wild animal clinic by the forest ranger's station. What the fuck, right? Anyway. Despite being related to Seth, he seems kinda nice."
Parker blinked. "'Kinda nice'?"
"Yeah. He hugged me and everything, and said 'Welcome to the Pack.'"
"You're kidding me. He didn't grab your head and sniff you?"
Shell looked at Parker like he had lost his mind. "Sure, he sniffed me, but he didn't grab me."
"He didn't say anything about you being human?"
"No. Why would he?"
Parker scoffed and rolled his eyes. "Of course. Since you're a girl. And you can make pups," he said bitterly.
Shell gave him a sympathetic smile. "Sorry."
Parker shrugged. It wasn't like there was anything he could do about it and it didn't make a difference. He was part of a new pack where bullshit like that didn't matter. Parker's stomach growled loudly and he grabbed at it and gave Shell an embarrassed smile. "Sorry. I'm hungry."
"Me too. I haven't had anything to eat all day."
"There's this diner in Timber. We could go there. No one would see us together. And they have fantastic cake."
Parker got up and followed Shell to her car and the two of them sped off, taking the two-lane highway towards Timber.
"I feel all sneaky," Parker chuckled.
Shell scoffed. "I can do whatever I want with whoever I want."
When they turned onto the village's main street, Shell parallel parked in front of the diner. Stepping onto the sidewalk, Parker looked down the street at the Timber General Store.
"Hey, let me introduce you to Buck and Stan first," Parker offered. He motioned down the sidewalk towards the Timber General Store. "They just joined our pack. They're mates, too. Buck's a bear."
"Is he really a bear?" Shell whispered. "Like a were-bear?"
"Yes. But don't worry. He won't eat you. Were-bear", he added with a snicker. "It rhymes. Were-bear."
"Oh my god, you are such a dork."
They walked into the store. Buck was standing at the register behind the counter looking up something on his computer. The burly man looked up from the counter.
Parker waved and smiled at the big bear. "Hey, Buck."
"Parker," Buck nodded. He tilted his head slightly and scratched at his thick beard as he looked Shell over.
"Hi, Parker," Stan said with a smile as he came from the back room. The small, dark-haired wolf wiped his hands on his apron and gave Parker a quick hug.
"This is my friend, Shell," Parker said. "That's Buck, and this is Stan."
"You looking for anything in particular?" Stan asked.
"No. We didn't come in to shop. We were going to the diner to grab a bite to eat and I wanted to introduce her to you guys." Parker glanced at Buck. He wanted to ask Stan to come along, since he wanted to get to know the guy better.
Buck put his hand on Stan's shoulder. "Why don't you take a break and go grab a bite?"
"Are you sure?"
"Yeah. I'll be fine." Buck leaned down and gave Stan a quick kiss on the lips and then smacked him on the ass. "Go on, cub."
Stan's cheeks went pink as he looked at Parker and Shell with an embarrassed smile on his face, which made both Shell and Parker laugh.
The trio walked down the street to the diner. Parker and Stan waved to Dottie then took the booth furthest from the rest of the diners. Shell slid in next to Parker, and Stan sat across from them.
"Hello again," Dottie greeted them happily and took their drink orders.
After a moment of awkward silence, Shell looked at Stan and asked, "So your mate is a bear, huh?"
"Yeah. He's a big Kodiak bear, actually." Stan smiled. It was obvious that he adored his bear.
"Damn. I'm just getting used to the fact that there are werewolves." At Stan's frown of the word 'werewolf,' Shell quickly amended, "I mean lycans. Wolf shifters. Whatever."
Stan nodded. "From what I understand, they're not very common, the bears. So, I take it you haven't been mated long, since you haven't had your first shift. You're part of the Forest View Pack?"
Shell rolled her eyes. "Mm. I don't have a mate and I don't need a pack either."
Parker exchanged a glance with Stan. "She's going through a rebellious stage."
Shell opened her mouth to retort, but Dottie arrived with their drinks and then took their orders.
Once Dottie left, Stan played with his straw in his glass, swirling it around his ice cubes. "You won't be able to resist him," he said quietly.
Shell let out a sigh. "I'll take the big idiot back, but he's gonna have to do a hell of a lot of groveling. But how did you know about that?"
Stan shrugged and gave her a small smile. "I can smell another wolf on you."
Shell actually looked like she was blushing. "Ew, gross."
All three laughed.
"You'll get used to it," Stan said. "Most shifters tend to have no sense of modesty when it comes to stuff like that."
"I am not very good at smells yet," Parker interjected. "Except for Colton. I can pick him out anywhere. He's got the best smell."
Shell rolled her eyes and pretended to gag, making Stan laugh.
Stan added, "And I can just tell that you haven't shifted yet."
"Were you born a wolf?" Parker asked Stan.
"Yup. I was born in the De Soto Pack in Mississippi."
"Really?" Parker asked. "I guess that explains the accent. So what are you doing way up here?"
"Well... My pack isn't very accepting of people who are different. And being smaller than most of the pack, they pushed me around... They decided they didn't want me around and I decided I couldn't stay..."
"Hmph," Parker grumped. "That seems to be a common theme."
Shell rolled her eyes. "See, that's bullshit. That's why I don't want a pack. Are they all homophobic like that?" she asked.
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